‘A little boy took a load of fruit into school and made £50 selling smoothies’: Saddleworth mum on cloud nine after charity efforts

This weekend’s gruelling Oldham Half Marathon will feel long enough on its own for most of the 500 participants, but for mum-of-four Eva Royle from Saddleworth it represents the final stage of her remarkable ‘nine-in-nine’ challenge.

Eva will complete an extraordinary nine weeks in which she has been running nine half-marathons in aid of Mummy’s Star – a Manchester based charity which helps pregnant women affected by cancer across the country.

She successfully battled breast cancer whilst pregnant with her youngest child and decided to give something back to the charity which assists in various ways, such as with the unexpected costs of childcare and transport during treatment.

They also provide a support network to other expectant mothers caught up in similar rare circumstances.

As a keen runner previously, including participating in the London Marathon, Eva devised a plan to run in a series of events and dedicate each one to a Mummy’s Star mum.

“The idea behind it was that if a mother can go through nine months of pregnancy and all the challenges that she would face with a cancer diagnosis, we should be able to run nine half-marathons in nine weeks,” she told MM.

She even convinced friends to join her on the runs – one of whom had never previously done any serious running before this year and is completing the full nine-in-nine with Eva.

The challenge has notably included the Great North Run and the English Half-Marathon, interspersed with other locally arranged events – last weekend saw a family-fun day in Uppermill with smaller scale events for children alongside the half-marathon.

The idea hasn’t stopped there though as Eva has encouraged others to get involved in different ways.

“If we can get other people doing their own nine-in-nine challenges, it becomes quite inclusive because not everyone wants to run nine half-marathons.”

Her son has been swimming nine widths of the pool after only starting to swim in August and someone has cycled coast-to-coast in nine hours.

“Money has been raised by kids going out and asking their grannies for sponsorship. Then there was a little boy who took a load of fruit into school and made £50 selling smoothies and that’s where the beauty of it is,” she said.

FAMILY FUN: Eva Royle with friends and families at last weekend’s event in Uppermill (photo courtesy of 9in9 via Facebook, with thanks)

Turning towards the conclusion of her own efforts in the ‘Milltown to Moors’ Oldham Half Marathon – which is notorious for being one of the toughest in the country – Eva is somewhat apprehensive.

“I’m not looking forward to the hills – it’s got about 1200 feet of elevation!

“And it’s been really hot every time we’ve been running – the Great North Run was a heatwave and after 10 miles I was really struggling, but the Mum we ran for on that day has secondary cancer whilst looking after three children and just getting on with her life.

“The feeling is that if she can do all that, I can run a couple more miles. However, I am looking forward to the end of it because it has been hard work and I’m hoping we will have raised over £20,000.

“All the girls have taken this on and there’s nothing more empowering than a group of strong women coming together. All of them have got their own lives and have given up their time, so it will be a celebration that it’s all over.”

So gruelling have the past few months been for Eva that she plans to make this weekend’s 13.1 mile race her last.

And certainly nobody will begrudge her having a very well earned break after her inspirational efforts in raising awareness and money for a great charity.

The ‘Milltown to Moors’ Oldham Half Marathon starts in Oldham town centre on Sunday October 16 at 9:30am.

For more information about Mummy’s Star, visit:

And to read more about the ‘nine-in-nine’ story, see:

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